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30 Dec 2021 13:13:42
I see the murmurs of discontent with Ralf Rangnick already starting to seep on to the site.

The "I wanted it before I knew I wanted it" generation showing their typical levels of patience.

Step back and think about the 4 weeks and 4 games Rangnick has been in charge for.

We have had 2 games postponed, a disrupted schedule due to a C.V. outbreak where the training ground was closed down and players couldn't train. Once the training ground was reopened not all players could train immediately.

He had 2 league games against Palace and Norwich within 6 days with a UCL dead rubber against Young boys sandwiched in-between. Then over two weeks of interrupted training before the Newcastle game.

He's had to contented with several key injuries, players unable to train due to C.V. and a muddled schedule.

To top that he started out with our old coaching staff, then unexpectedly several leave and he has to scramble around to bring in replacements.

None of this even takes into consideration that he is attempting to get the side to play a wildly different style of play, with players who aren't used to being asked to work for a living.

Anyone who thought this was a quick fix was living in a dream world. Maybe what is most upsetting to them is they are starting to wake up.

We have one CB who is good enough for the level we need to be at and he has had injury issues. Attack wins games, defence wins titles.

AWB doesn't seem suited to any style you'd expect from a title challenging team. Dalot might not be good enough. Shaw's form goes up and down with his waistline. While Telles seems solid enough but isn't ever going to be world class.

McFred is the worst midfield of any top six side, not only do City, Liverpool and Chelsea have a better midfield than us, but Spurs, Arsenal, Leicester, and even West Ham.
While teams like Wolves, Leeds and Brighton all have at least one midfielder who would be an upgrade on our own (Neves, Phillips and Bissouma) .

In attack we have several "star" players, but no unity. They play like a bunch of individuals all trying to be the big name star. On paper it looks great, but scratch a little deeper and we have players who are more concerned with scoring than they are with creating. Even out two most "creative" attackers (Bruno and Sancho) tend to have goals scored make up between 40-50% of their total goal contributions.

Yes with better coaching you can in time get a group of individuals to perform better, but the truth is no amount of "coaching" can turn a average player into a world class one.
If that was possible then clubs wouldn't spend billions on buying world class players when they could just coach their players to become world class instead.

Look over at City and Liverpool and there are very few players in their squads now which were at the club's before Pep and Klopp took over. 95% of the players they have in their squads are players bought by the current managers. They bought the players who suited the style of play they are attempting to play.

If we are to have a defined style of play not all our current players will fit into it. In fact a large proportion probably won't. We have a missmassed squad made up of players from Sir Alex, Moyes, LVG, Mourinho and Ole's time as manager. Five managers with very different styles of play, and very different key attributes they want in their players.

This pathway will take time, YEARS no weeks. We will probably need to move on 12-15 players in the first team because they are either not good enough or don't suit our new style of play. Those 12-15 players will need replacing, maybe a few come from the academy, but most will need to be bought. As it's rare to sign more than 5 players in a window (and generally unadvisable as they often struggle to gel), then that's at least two summer transfer windows, maybe three.

When considering all of this it becomes pretty apparent that we are unlikely to see drastic change in 4 weeks of disrupted training.

Agree0 Disagree0

30 Dec 2021 13:40:23
Lots of sensible points made, Shappy.

My biggest concern with RR however is in formation. Without a transfer window (yet! ) to buy players to suit the manager’s preferred style and formation, SURELY he must have chosen a style and formation to suit the players currently at his disposal?

Bruno, Rashford, Sancho and to a lesser extent Greenwood, simply cannot play in the 4222. Square pegs, round holes currently.

30 Dec 2021 14:18:36
I agree with everything Shappy has said above. Rangnick’s got a tough job ahead of him but rebuilding seems to be his forte. I’ve read quite a bit about what he’s done with other clubs and his coaching philosophy and it does look like he’s a great fit to help sort our mess out. We lack any sort of balance, there’s quite a few players we need to move on. The trouble is rebuilding takes time and look at what’s being posted on here after 4 weeks. I hope Rangnick does what he’s done previously in building a young dynamic hardworking team, after the last 7 years I’m more than willing to give the guy time as for the first time there will hopefully be a strategy and plan to get there.

30 Dec 2021 14:21:59
Downsie, formations are fluid, RR tends to use the 4222 as its the easiest formation to train the players in his style of play.

All of our players to varying extents can play in those positions. The question is whether they can fullfil the role RR is asking them to do from that position.

30 Dec 2021 14:25:27
Most disappointment for me comes from the players lack of effort and lack of togetherness. Make no mistake, there are problems in that first team squad. I thought at the end Ole lost control of the squad and they stopped playing for him. Ralf has come in with his new harder training style, which I thought would galvanise the first team - but so far they look like spoiled kids. I hope Ralf slaps some of these players down a peg or two, and that the supporters give him the backing to do that. They need a firmer manager to sort them out.

30 Dec 2021 14:28:28
Not to mention the desired formation of 4222, there’s a reason no other top team prefers this formation. Just doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe it’s the players that can’t play it, also seems odd to try and push this 4222 formation when a new manager will come in the summer and is unlikely to play it.

30 Dec 2021 14:37:37
Ed002 made a fantastic and big big post, but Shappy tried to top that. that's a very good post Shappy that says a lot of truths but not all. Ofcourse its not your fault because you can't summarise it all on one post.
A big big problem is Cristiano Ronaldo. There were a lot of matches that we started slowly, conceded a goal and then suddenly play our football and turn a football match in our way for fun. We were only a few that didn't like Ronaldo but he is out main problem.
With him we have to play with two upfront. He don't have the pace anymore to stretch teams and to ne feared and stay on their defence-every team attack us with numbers, even Norwich and Newcastle. We don't have team ethic-you can see it and ask Buffon too. He pressed ONE game (and was good at it i think) against Palace and at some point in the second half he hadn't even had the strength to make a simple pass. He knows that running more will cause problems at his records cause if you want to finish a chance you must not be tired in front of the keeper.
Last but not least he took Brunos role as talisman. We had a center forward to take the pressure and Fernandez came from behind as a second striker to score or make something happen. Ronaldo confused the team, he made us no favour.
Did i matched Shappys 5000 words? :p Have a happy new year mates.

30 Dec 2021 14:54:43
Looking forward to tonights game. I think we'll learn a lot about players and coach. For better or worse but if the players carry on with the present attitude I expect RR to start swinging the axe.

30 Dec 2021 14:58:21
I have posted several times much longer posts than this will be, but this is the reset the club needed when SAF left, when Mourinho left, instead we have had 3 soft wasted years. You can dislike it all you want if you loved Ole, but it is where we are now because of him. The tough message, a defined change in style getting away from trying to copy something from the 80’s, to a modern style doesn’t happen in 4 weeks. In the past I have talked about interim directors, well Rangnick is an expert in building the background, setting a style. His CV may not have what others have, but he has what is needed now, change management, he isn’t in a long term role managing the team. Tough decisions must be made to restructure the whole direction, I am behind him and agree with Shappy.

30 Dec 2021 15:11:14
But Rewz. He not got time he got 5 months! Stupid appointment! And he only ever helped build small little teams nothing the size of United or anywhere near, Like Jose once said you have to build but you also have to win at same time, we can’t just say ol another rebuilding project let’s wait another 7 years for it to bear fruit!

Like mentioned he is trying to show horn this crazy 4222 formation and if it’s Poch, Simeone, Rodgers etc or anyone else you care to mention in the summer this formation gone and probably along with our best players to, buts that’s OK we will still have McGuire, AWB, Shaw, McT to build from.
I would love RR to succeed I just don’t see the point in the appointment because your already on back foot saying it’s only for 6 months!

But I would love to hear what people see in RR’s CV that makes him anywhere near the right appointment the same as Ole was not!

{Ed077's Note - maybe others actually watched his other teams play and/or observed how he helped build the teams/club instead of just a piece of paper or an a 1 page word document?

I see its taken people less than half a dozen games to decide that he is not any good...

30 Dec 2021 15:15:19
A lot of patience already towards Ralph, despite being undefeated so far. I think the tide turned a little this week because his first few games, whilst not improved in many areas, were definite improvements in terms of effort and application. but the Newcastle performance was as bad as anything we'd seen before that, made even worse as Utd had a full squad after a few weeks off, while Newcastle went into the game in dreadful form with numerous injuries. It was very much a point salvaged with a scrappy goal as opposed to 2 points lost where we'd dominated.
Coupled with the fact that Conte (and prior to that Tuchel) pretty much walked in and instantly transformed their new club's on-field displays I think many expected an instant revolution. Obviously Ralf has had a completely disjointed introduction to English football with injuries and cancelled fixtures.

30 Dec 2021 16:10:31
Jimjams, I think you gave yourself away when you said you were against him from the start.

You are waiting for him to fail and jump on here and post after a draw. We haven't even lost a game under RR yet.

Your vision is clouded as you already made up your mind without giving him a chance and that blinds you from objectively looking at the situation.

Like a conspiracy theorists trying to force the evidence to fit the narrative and ignoring anything that doesn't fit.

If you don't know enough about RR then there is lots of information out there on him. Or if you are unsure why he is here or what his objectives are then just ask.

Clearly he isn't here for a long time, but is the man tasked with laying the foundations for the next manager. To hopefully help set a style and hire a manager who uses that same style.

His best work has always been done in a role above the manager, and that is where we need him most. However in the short term the right manager isn't available, and we can't be expected to run without a manager.

The options were clear:

Carry on with Ole.

Hire the wrong manager just because he is available.

Or hire a temporary manager while the club looks for the right long term manager.

In hiring RR the club went for the third option but hopefully with a clever twist in that the current temporary manager can give the club the advice it needs, hopefully steer the club in the right direction and lay the foundations for the next manager so they don't start at zero.

Of course this is assuming the club follow his advice and hire a manager whose style of play is similar or at least have similar characteristics to that which RR demands.

30 Dec 2021 15:59:45
Ed’s 077. I never said he is not any good I said he not exactly got a proven record at anywhere near this level, and really watching his teams play in lower end of Bundesliga and whatever they call the Russian league, you can translate that to the Premier League to judge! That’s if we talk of coaching or building a club……. and you really think the club will jettison all the big names and the commercial activity that goes with that to give a 63 year old who won nothing to take that gamble I don’t see that, I’m sorry nor should they by the way because something as to pay those wages! And all the new players he will need.

{Ed077's Note - you only know of Rangnick's time at RBL and Lokomotiv Moscow??

Also if the higher ups at the club with no footballing background dont agree with a man who is considered the father of german gegen pressing then I dont think RR would be the main fallguy.

In the past decade we have seen a CL winning manager like LvG and a treble winning manager like Mourinho fail to deliver. So previous managerial records arent the be all and end all IMO.}

30 Dec 2021 16:48:46
People really seem to have got hung up on the formation.

I'll say this clearly THE FORMATION DOESN'T MATTER.

It's fluid, this isn't table football with all the players stuck in a fixed position.

The players probably spend less than 3 minutes in and entire match in what is considered the starting formation/ shape.

They'll have several different defensive shapes/ formations to be in depending on which defensive phase it is and where the attack is coming from. Likewise they'll have several different offensive shapes/ formations depending on which attacking phase they are in.

Managers will coach in a specific shape initially to get their ideas across, then once the players know what the manager wants from them they will Potentially alter the shape of the side to either better suit the players or to counter an opponent.

Pochettino has actually said this himself stating that he tends to train a new team in a 4231 shape initially until they understand his philosophy at which point he will then start to adjust the team shape. He doe this as he feels the 4231 shape is the best shape for how his ideals would work.

RR doesn't and hasn't always played with a 4222 shape, he has on many occasions adjusted it.

However the shape works well when teaching his philosophy. If a ball is played centrally then you can press with 4 players. While if the ball is played down the flank you can press with 3 players and use the sideline as an additional "4th" player as its a zone the player with the ball cannot enter.

When learning how to press it's an ideal shape.

As for how the positions effect the players, they shouldn't at all. Bruno is being asked to play in the attacking third, focusing on the inside half spaces this is an area he has spent most of his career playing in, same for Sancho.

Rashford and Greenwood are not being asked to play as target men but as wide forwards, finding space between the CB and the full back to receive the ball and run at opposition. Which is exactly how they have played their entire careers.

What is letting me he side down currently is a failure to work as a unit. With a pressing team you only need one player not to order and do their job and then the press has an out ball and is easily bypassed. Once a press is bypassed it takes 3-4 players out the game, or at least puts them on the back foot chasing back to get goal side of the ball.

Until all the players know what is expected of them and they all start doing it consistently on the pitch then performances will be patchy at best.

This isn't something that can be learned overnight, it will take time.

30 Dec 2021 16:56:51
I understand the frustration JimJams. The new manager bounce in terms of work rate and effort, or at least focused attention (if the players are fatigued) as seriously lacking against newcastle.

But we need to back Ralf above the players. They need to know that he is in charge and the fans support him.

It does not need them all to be sold. But they need to know that they have to fall in line with his way, or drop out of the first team. And we will support him.

Foden and Grealish went out partying when Pep was out of town. They were both dropped dropped to the bench for a few games and Pep publically stated that he would select players who WANTED to play. 2 weeks later and Foden was man of the match and looking focused and hungry.

Part of a manager's magic sauce is the belief at the club. The support from the fans that his choices and decisions are right for the club.

Once the fans start to undermine the manager and support the players over him, it is not long till his ideas resemble those of a snake oil salesman.

This is why the wheels came off so alarmingly for Ole and his coaching staff, for Mourinho, Moyes and for most managers where they lose the dressing room.

Ralf has just started and should be backed to sort this mess out. Manager over player power all the way to the end of the season.



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